Adobe-full Adobe Behance arrow-down arrow-right LineCreated with Sketch. close-tablet-03 close-tablet-05 comment dropdown-close dropdown-open facebook instagram linkedin rss search share twitter
Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Work / Life Balance

Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job

4 yoga techniques that eliminate that all-day-at-the-computer feeling.


Have you ever spent a day at your desk only to leave feeling physically worn down? Chances are, you’re not passing your days doing intense physical tasks, so why are you dead tired come 6 p.m.?

The physical toll of knowledge work rarely comes in the form of a sudden injury. Instead any bodily damage from our nine to five is the result of tiny imperfections in our work habits building up over time — maybe we have bad posture when we email or inadvertently hold our breath when reading from our computer. If you spend an average of eight hours each day in front of a screen (and that’s not counting browsing in your free time), that’s well over 2,000 hours a year. While a little slouching now and then isn’t so bad, drawn out over thousands of hours our bad work habits can cause serious harm.

Lucky there’s a hack for our habits, that dates back to 500 BCE: yoga. Whether you’re a serial texter, seat slumper, or even a fan of the standing desk, these four yoga hacks will help heal the damage caused by any techno-centric, workaholic lifestyles. Through repetition these yoga practices will help prevent arthritis, reduce back pain, improve your posture, decrease stress, and leave you feeling more energized.

— 

The Problem: After frequent texting and typing, your wrists feel stiff and sore.

Yoga Hack: Come to your hands and knees. Then, flip one wrist at a time, palms face down, with fingers pointing towards your knees. Start by making small circles over your wrists, shifting weight forwards and backwards. If this feels painful, keep working here and try adding a little more pressure each day. When you’re ready to move on, you can extend one leg back at a time, so that you’re in a plank pose (top of a push-up) with your wrists flipped. This will stretch out your wrist joints, while bringing new blood to the area, giving you more flexibility and range overtime, and helping to fight off arthritis.

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

The Problem: As your day draws to a close you find yourself slumping closer and closer to your screen, and by the time you log off you look more like Mr. Burns than your tall self.

Yoga Hack: Stand with feet hips width distance apart (if you’re not sure how wide this is, you can measure by placing two fists between your feet).  Bend your knees as you fold forward, with the crown of your head dropping towards the ground. Clasp your palms behind your back and let them fall overhead. This is an intense shoulder stretch that will open up the front side of your body, counteracting any residual rounding from poor posture.

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Problem: You work at a standing desk, but put all your weight on one hip at a time, or worse–you still find ways to slouch! 

Yoga Hack: There’s a big difference between standing casually and standing up in yoga (also known as Mountain Pose). Start with your feet hips width distance apart, shift weight back into your heels, then into the balls of your feet, and rest somewhere in the middle so that you’re pressing all four corners of each foot into the ground (your feet should be so planted that you could withstand a gentle push without having to readjust).

Bend your knees and slowly straighten, mindfully stacking bone on top of bone. Roll your shoulders up to your ears and down the back. Puff up your chest, while tucking your chin slightly and gazing straight ahead (this will help stack your cervical spine on top of your thoracic spine, helping to eliminate back pain). Lastly, and most importantly, engage your thighs! You can do this by energetically drawing your legs upward, and flexing your adductor muscles. This will distribute your body weight evenly, so that the biggest muscles in your body (the muscles in your legs) can take weight off your joints, which will leave you feeling more energized, alert and symmetrical after standing for long periods at a time.

YogaHacks_4

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Problem: You take short, sharp breaths while completing stressful tasks, or worse, you hold your breath completely as a subconscious means of focusing. 

Yoga Hack: Set a calendar reminder that goes off every three hours telling you to “breathe deeply.” When you see the alert start by exhaling all the air out of your lungs. Inhale fully through your nose (you should see your belly expand when you inhale), then slowly and evenly exhale, sending air from your belly through your chest, throat and finally nose, while lips are lightly sealed. Repeat as many times as you like. This controlled form of breathing (also known as Ujjayi breath) improves concentration while slowing down the nervous system, which negates any anxiety or stress we’re holding in the body. Pretty powerful stuff!

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Illustration: Oscar Ramos Orozco

Jenn Tardif

Jenn is a Product & Marketing Manager at Adobe and a Yoga Teacher. Formerly, she was the Associate Director of Partnerships for Behance and the Sr. Marketing Manager for The Drake Hotel. Say hello on Twitter.

Comments (23)
  • http://p2.diyfairytales.com/yoga-hacks-how-to-undo-the-damage-of-a-desk-job/ Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job | DIY FairyTales

    […] Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job – 99U. […]

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/daily-clippings/p/4026622652/2014/08/20/yoga-hacks-how-to-undo-the-damage-of-a-desk-job Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Jo...

    […] Have you ever spent a day at your desk only to leave feeling physically worn down? Chances are, you’re not passing your days doing intense physical tasks, so why are you dead tired come 6 p.m.?  […]

  • Leon HARRIS

    $9­­­­­­­­87­­­­­­­­­/­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­p­­­­­­­­­av­­­­­­­­­iv­­­­­­­­­d­­­­­­­­­v­­­­­­­­­ b­­­­­­­­­y G­­­­­­­­­oog­­­­­­­­­le­­­­­­­­­, I­­­­­­­­­ am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$5400­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$7000/week ­­­­­­­­­, ­­­­­­­­­which ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, ­­­­­­­­­under ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­year ­­­­­­­­­ago ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­horrible ­­­­­­­­­economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­blessed ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it’s ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and ­­­­­­­­­share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,­­­­­,,,,

    .jobslee․com

  • http://niceinitiativeblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/a-letter-to-todays-entrepreneur/ A Letter to Today’s Entrepreneur | The NICE Reboot Book Blog on Entrepreneurship in the iEra

    […] Be vigilant about undoing the damage of sitting too long in one position, or of typing too long. Life’s not a dress rehearsal, […]

  • http://www.brianjester.us/ Brian Jester

    Dead tired by 6pm, how about in a lunch coma at 1:30pm… I do the Mr. Burns hack – hands clasped behind my back, but just standing, not leaning over, and it feels great. I really like the graphics – how did you make them!? -Brian Jester http://www.asanablog.com/yoga

  • http://www.jessicaseletti.com/friday-lounge-my-daily-practice-cruelty-free-mascaras-and-pop-up-dining-experiences/ FRIDAY LOUNGE: my daily practice, cruelty-free mascaras, and pop-up dining experiences. | Jessica Seletti

    […] ► Sitting at a desk most of the day? Here are some easy yoga poses to undo the damage of a desk job. […]

  • http://www.formetocoupon.com/affiliate-news-silver-pockets-full/ Affiliate News: Silver Pockets Full - FMTC Affiliate Datafeed and Tools

    […] If you sit at a desk all day and/or all night, 99u.com published Yoga Hacks: How to undo the damage of a desk job. […]

  • http://livingfreelance.ca/weekly-link-roundup/ Weekly Link Roundup - Living Freelance

    […] you feeling the pain of a desk job? Does your back hurt? Are your wrists cramping? Try these “Yoga Hacks” to undo the […]

  • http://www.exubrancy.com Liz Wilkes

    Love these tips! Another great option is a seated twist — sit at your desk with your feet and knees together. Take a deep breath in and stretch upwards through your spine. As you breath out, turn your body to the right, and place your left hand on outer right side of your chair. Drop your shoulders away from your ears. Take a few deep breaths and repeat on the left side. Twists cleanse and detoxify body tissues while helping relieve back pain and pressure.

    Interested in holding actual yoga classes in your office? Check out http://www.exubrancy.com.

  • http://engagedhealthsolutions.com/2014/08/stop-sitting-take-vacation-get-motivated-cats/ Stop Sitting, Take Your Vacation & Get Motivated (+cats) - Engaged Health Solutions

    […] so you’re sitting. Here’s how yoga can help you undo some of the damage that comes with a desk job. From sore wrists to lousy posture, […]

  • http://www.graphicdesign.welovebrisbane.com.au/friday-link-pack-121/ Friday Link Pack » We Love Brisbane – Graphic Design

    […] – Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job […]

  • Tess Ball

    Love this! Check out #DeskBodyRX on Instagram for tons of great videos of office yoga/posture hacks:)

    • phoenixdoula

      Followed:)

  • archer

    Love this!

    • archer

      me too!!

  • http://oddlovescompany.com/2014/08/sponge-cake-day-ride-the-wind-day/ Sponge Cake Day, Ride The Wind Day - Odd Loves Company

    […] Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job […]

  • http://bugmonkeyspark.com/2014/08/24/spark-sunday/ Spark Sunday | Bug. Monkey. Spark.

    […] For those of us who sit too much: Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job […]

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/food-and-diet-by-yournscommunity/p/4026880940/2014/08/25/yoga-hacks-how-to-undo-the-damage-of-a-desk-job Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Jo...

    […] 4 yoga techniques that eliminate that all-day-at-the-computer feeling.  […]

  • http://www.gdubzdesigns.com/2014/08/26/yoga-exercises-that-help-to-heal-the-health-damage-of-a-desk-job/ Yoga Exercises That Help To Heal The Health Damage Of A Desk Job - Gdubz Designs - Hawaii Website Design and Development

    […] help us undo the damage done by thousands of hours at a desk job, website 99u shared four easy-to-do yoga exercises that would serve to counter some common office-related health […]

  • http://www.11elevendc.com/yoga-exercises-that-help-to-heal-the-health-damage-of-a-desk-job/ Yoga Exercises That Help To Heal The Health Damage Of A Desk Job | 11ElevenDC

    […] the desk sometimes. To help us undo the damage done by thousands of hours at a desk job, website 99u shared four easy-to-do yoga exercises that would serve to counter some common office-related health […]

  • http://imaopics.com/yoga-exercises-that-help-to-heal-the-health-damage-of-a-desk-job/ Yoga Exercises That Help To Heal The Health Damage Of A Desk Job – imaopics

    […] help us undo the damage done by thousands of hours at a desk job, website 99u shared four easy-to-do yoga exercises that would serve to counter some common office-related health […]

  • http://demo.autoblogwizard.com/autoblogdemo/custom-id-yoga-exercises-that-help-to-heal-the-health-damage-of-a-desk-jobtue-26-aug-2014-031037-0700/ Yoga Exercises That Help To Heal The Health Damage Of A Desk Job – AutoBlog Demo

    […] help us undo the damage done by thousands of hours at a desk job, website 99u shared four easy-to-do yoga exercises that would serve to counter some common office-related health […]

  • http://randomolio.com/2014/08/26/sitting-to-long-butt-goes-to-sleep/ Sitting too long, butt goes to sleep | random olio

    […] when I found these great yoga stretches for stress and to undo the damage of a desk, I was interested. I subscribe to a weekly 99U newsletter and I find it gives me different types of […]

  • http://74limelane.com.au/blog/2014/08/27/things-im-loving-9/ things I'm loving ... - 74 Lime Lane

    […] you’re a desk worker type like me,  then you’ll want to bookmark this post on Yoga Hacks to undo the damage of a desk job. The past few weeks I’ve been doing a weekly, early morning yoga session. And for this former […]

  • Aquilex

    Thanks Jen!

  • http://www.designthatsticks.com/friday-link-pack-109/ Friday Link Pack | Design That Sticks

    […] – Yoga Hacks: How to Undo the Damage of a Desk Job […]

  • http://peterpaulandshona.com/2014/08/27/how-to-survive-the-daily-grind/ How to Survive the Daily Grind | Peter Paul and Shona

    […] is still spent on the computer. In case this describes you too, read the following article for some Yoga Hacks For The Office, provided by […]

blog comments powered by Disqus

More articles on Work / Life Balance

moutain_big
Unknown-4
Illustration by Oscar Ramos Orozco.
sanityfeat
Illustration by Oscar Ramos Orozco.
Illustration by Oscar Ramos Orozco.